The 2011 Middle Level Art Educator Award was awarded to Carol Webb. Webb has been the Art teacher at Miller Middle School in Marshalltown for 15 years, and has impressed parents and colleagues while working her way into the hearts of her students.
Each year she organizes a field trip for the 8th Grade art students to the Des Moines Art Center. Madelyn Mayberry, retired art instructor from both Marshalltown Community Schools and Marshalltown Community College and current docent and docent coach for the Des Moines Art Center, says of Carol, “Her students are among the best prepared for their experience at the Art Center. This is evinced by the quality of the experience we docents enjoy with her students as they engage in dialogue with the art works. It is obvious to us that Carol has shown her students images of artworks they might see and that they also have experience in the process of discovery. They use quite sophisticated art terms to describe, analyze, and interpret the meaning they find in the art. Carol does an outstanding job of empowering her students to get the most out of their touring experience by teaching them observation skills and encouraging grounded, personal dialogue about the art. Her students then leave their museum experience excited about what they’ve seen and with tools they can use to build their own relationships with art.”
Other opportunities Webb has created for her students includes numerous after-school art classes, which she frequently obtains funding for. She has received three different “Artists in Schools” grants from the Iowa Arts Council. These visits all resulted in community art projects, the most well-known of which is T.J. Moberg’s collaborative sculpture for Marshalltown Public Library, “The Homework Machine.”
When speaking of her time spent teaching at Miller, Webb says, “Teaching middle school art is full of rewards and challenges. So much time with seventh graders has made me feel that I am turning into one of them! Yet, I continually find new significance in art instruction each school year. In the words of many art and education professionals who have impacted my career, the way to teach art is through connections - connections to creative experiences, to the personal and the global in art interpretation and art making, and, most importantly, connections to the students with whom we interact daily.”
Webb is a vital part of the Marshalltown Community School District (MCSD) staff. She spent 2 years on the School Re-Organization Committee. She is the treasurer and framing coordinator for the “Young Artists of Marshalltown” annual district art show. Webb mentors a new teacher at Miller each year, and also serves informally as a mentor and advisor to the other MCSD art teachers.
Webb’s committment to art education extends to the entire state of Iowa though her work with AEI. She has been a member of the board for a total of 11 years, serving as the local Area rep, Membership Chair, and for the last 5 years, Treasurer. Webb honors AEI back stating, “Thank you AEI for connecting with and positively influencing the professional lives of art educators in Iowa who spark creativity in students.” But Webb, herself, is an inspiration to the art teachers she networks with.